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FinCEN amends Patriot Act search requirements
WASHINGTON (11/17/09)--Certain foreign law enforcement authorities beginning in 2010 will be allowed to submit information requests on financial institutions through the 314(a) program after the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on Monday released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The 314(a) search requirements, which are part of the USA Patriot Act, require financial institutions to comply with law enforcement requests that the institution search its records for "persons of interest." The rule, as proposed, would allow State and local law enforcement to also submit information requests through FinCEN. According to FinCEN, the information requests “would enable these agencies to know whether a financial institution has established an account or conducted a transaction with a person reasonably suspected, based on credible evidence, of engaging in terrorist activity or significant money laundering.” However, FinCEN noted, requesting law enforcement agencies “would have to certify that the matter is significant, and that it has been unable to locate the information sought through traditional methods of investigation and analysis” before they can make use of the 314(a) program. FinCEN will also submit information requests for the Treasury Department, according to the rulemaking notice. FinCEN Director James Freis, Jr. said that the information sharing program “is a proven tool, and these changes will help further protect the integrity of our national financial system." FinCEN is also exploring other avenues to improve the transfer of information among law enforcement, financial industries, and regulators, according to the release. Additionally, FinCEN is looking to amend portions of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) that address its administrative ruling system. For the full FinCEN release, as submitted to the Federal Register, use the resource link.


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